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By Erin Gleeson
If there is water, the fish eats the ant. If there is no water, the ant eats the fish. Remissa believes this Khmer proverb epitomizes Cambodia today. “It is hard to understand the fate of the people. If you live in one village and there is water, then you survive. If you live in another without water, you will die. This relates to everything-- jobs, politics, education, healthcare, food…”
To create this metaphorically and technically complex series, Remissa first made a colourful storyboard before negotiating with nature. During his numerous visits to his childhood Kandal village, he waited hours for decisive moments. Under the shade of a banana leaf, he watched the sun x-ray a fish corpse while ants moved it like a shadow puppet. He waited when the fisherman couldn’t understand he wanted “the smallest fish for my ant to carry.” He contemplated social metaphor, beauty and composition while he waited. And now we can, too.